"This is an impressive piece of work which will be of interest to all researchers interested in the intellectual foundations of Latin America's nineteenth century."
--"Bulletin of Spanish Studies"
In "Tropes of Enlightenment in the Age of Bolivar", Ronald Briggs shines a much-needed light on the writings and life of Simon Rodriguez, early tutor to the hero of Latin American independence Simon Bolivar and an accomplished essayist in his own right. Bolivar and Rodriguez's lives intersected often after those early years. When Bolivar swore his life to Spanish American independence on a hill outside Rome in 1805, Rodriguez was there to witness the historic moment. And when Bolivar needed to shape the new government of Bolivia, he enlisted Rodriguez to serve roles in developing both its educational system and its infrastructure. The book, released during the bicentennial of the early wars for Latin American independence, boldly places Rodriguez in the pantheon of important writers who influenced philosophical thought during the upheavals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Noah Webster, and Tom Paine. Beyond merely providing the first in-depth analysis of Rodriguez's writings and life work, Briggs also reveals an innovator of style as Rodriguez shaped the utility and vitality of the essay as an emerging form of argument. "Tropes of Enlightenment in the Age of Bolivar" is an essential study of a unique and playful writer who is finally revealed as a foundational figure in Spanish American independence and an influential thinker in the larger field of hemispheric studies.
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